Congratulations to the 2021 Finalists

There is a strong field of finalists for the eleventh annual New Zealand Energy Excellence Awards. The 10 awards categories recognise best practice in New Zealand’s energy sector, celebrating the industry’s important contribution to society and the economy. A new category launched this year – the Outcomes Award – recognises outstanding initiatives for accessible and inclusive products and services that deliver positive outcomes for consumers.

An audience of about 650 is expected when the awards are presented at the Cordis Auckland on 10 March 2021. The awards are organised by Freeman, publisher of Energy News. Judges were once again impressed with the quality of projects and people put forward and the innovation across disciplines in the sector.

Freeman general manager Irwin Munro says a notable feature this year is how firms are continuing to incorporate wellbeing and to leverage technology for the benefit of staff and customers. “The judges recognise that isn’t easy to do, and it requires dedicated commitment and resourcing,” Munro says. “We are keen to celebrate this.”

It is also pleasing to see the how the industry is developing its next generation of leaders. “Judges were encouraged to see the sheer volume and diversity of entries for the Young Energy Professional of the Year, which says a lot about the future leadership of the sector,” Munro says. Also impressive was the breadth of entries, with small specialist companies standing alongside the giants of the sector in demonstrating excellence.

Munro says the quality and quantity of entries this year was such that making the final stage is a considerable achievement in itself. It was a close call for many entrants with most categories limited to three finalists. “We encourage this year’s entrants to put themselves forward again next year as initiatives mature.”

The 2021 finalists are:

Innovation in Energy – sponsored by Gentrack

  • Genesis Energy – Genesis Predictive Analytics Platform revolutionises power station asset management
  • OMV – Multiple innovations in Pohokura gas pipeline repair
  • Westpower–Electronet – ConductorDown: a revolutionary innovation to detect live fallen conductor events

Community Initiative of the Year – sponsored by PEPANZ

  • Energise Ōtaki – New Zealand’s first community owned solar farm
  • Genesis Energy – Genesis – Matawhaanui Board: POU Ltd Partnership
  • Methanex – Strengthening hapū relationships through learning and understanding

Young Energy Professional of the Year – sponsored by ABB

  • Eastland Network​ – Mikaere Ngarimu
  • The Lines Company​ – Jared Murrell
  • Todd Energy​ – Juliet Oliver

Large Energy User Initiative of the Year – sponsored by EECA 

  • Gleeson & Cox – Driving for efficiency
  • Oji Fibre Solutions – Tasman Mill conversion to geothermal steam
  • Open Country Dairy – A world first: the Southern Hemisphere’s largest electrode boiler using 100 per cent renewable energy

Network Initiative of the Year – sponsored by Milwaukee Tool

  • Counties Power – Pokeno Power Project
  • Liquigas – $35.5m saved through Liquigas innovation
  • OMV – World-first with Pohokura gas pipeline repair

Low Carbon Future – sponsored by BusinessNZ Energy Council

  • Auckland Transport – Low emission bus roadmap
  • Christchurch International Airport – Innovation and Aquifers: Christchurch Airport’s ground source heating and cooling
  • Fonterra and Nature’s Flame – Wood pellets for coal free future at Fonterra Te Awamutu

Well-being Award – sponsored by nib

  • Firstgas Group – Got your back
  • Genesis Energy – Resilience, taking a proactive approach to mental wellbeing in a challenging year
  • MainPower – Breaking from tradition – improving work life balance

Outcomes Award – sponsored by Electricity Authority

  • Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand – Delivering better outcomes for vulnerable consumers with EnergyMate
  • Meridian Energy – Prompt payment discount replacement initiative
  • The Lines Company – Tackling energy hardship: a customer-focused approach

Consumer NZ Energy Retailer of the Year – sponsored by EDMI

  • Electric Kiwi
  • Flick Electric Co.
  • Nova


Entries are evaluated by an expert panel of independent judges. Gillian Blythe, chief executive of Water New Zealand and former head of strategy and regulatory affairs at Meridian Energy, joined the panel this year.

Former Energy Law Association president Elisabeth Welson returns to the panel she first joined in 2012 as chair. She is joined by Sapere Research Group director Toby Stevenson, Carbon Match founder Lizzie Chambers, independent consultant John Hancock, Electricity Networks Association chief executive Graeme Peters, director and head of research at Enerlytica John Kidd and strategy and management consultant Carmen Blackler.

The Editor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sector – sponsored by Utilities Disputes – will be announced on the night. The Awards night is further supported by table display sponsor LZ New Zealand and sustainable wine producer Yealands.